Aurora Magazine

Promoting excellence in advertising

Striking a Spark in the Local Market

Sparx enters the local smartphone market.
Published 29 Apr, 2024 03:13pm

With a monthly turnover of two million units, the mobile phone market in Pakistan has soared, with smartphones accounting for 1.2 million of these units. This makes Pakistan one of the largest mobile phone markets in Asia, trailing only behind India and surpassing Bangladesh in size. Capitalising on this opportunity, Sparx introduced its brand in November 2021 and made it available to consumers in Pakistan in January 2023.

Sparx, owned by the Deploy Group, is part of a portfolio that includes three other brands; XMobile (button phones), XSmart (2G phones), and Xcess (comes with accessories such as power banks, smartwatches and earbuds). Located in Karachi’s Korangi Industrial Area, Sparx’s manufacturing facility is entirely Pakistani-owned; the components are imported from China but assembled domestically.

Zeeshan Qureshi, CEO, Deploy Group and head of Sparx smartphones, is pushing for localisation initiatives. “We are engaging in discussions with the government to establish an ecosystem conducive to localisation, such as packaging, chargers, peripheral devices and batteries.” His goal is to have a policy that encourages maximum domestic production of mobile components and thereby influences the pricing structure of mobile phones in Pakistan.

Sparx debuted with the introduction of the Neo series, positioned as a budget-friendly option. This series comprised seven product variants, featuring celebrities Wahaj Ali and Maya Ali in the launch campaign. Subsequently, Sparx introduced an upgraded iteration of the Neo series, labelled as the Ultra Series and marketed under the slogan ‘Shine with Sparx’. This iteration offered enhanced features, such as a larger battery capacity and improved processing speeds, while maintaining affordability. The third series, dubbed the Note Series, caters to the high-end segment, boasting flagship processing chips, rapid charging capabilities and a sleek design.

The latest addition to Sparx’s line-up is the Edge Series, unveiled in December 2023 and featuring two variants: Edge 20 and Edge 20 Pro, both positioned as premium offerings. To promote its launch, Sparx enlisted the endorsement of celebrity Mahira Khan. Qureshi points out that the choice went beyond just having an attractive face.

“We believe Mahira Khan is selective about the brands she endorses and this lends credibility to her endorsement.”

The company sees Khan’s association with the brand as a means to inspire consumers to try Sparx, leveraging her widespread recognition – and although it is still premature to gauge the response, Sparx indicates that the initial results are promising.

The creative arm behind the campaign was Helipad Productions. Introducing the tagline ‘Change the Game’, the objective was to shift perceptions surrounding the purchase of flagship high-end products typically associated with high prices. The Sparx Edge Series, priced at Rs 60,000, challenges this notion by offering a comprehensive array of cutting-edge features comparable to those found in phones priced between Rs 250,000 to Rs 500,000. The Edge Series offers phones equipped with high-tech features at a price that is nearly 60 to 80% lower than that of competing models. The aim is to revolutionise the concept of flagship phones by making them accessible and affordable to a wider audience.

In terms of competition, Sparx identifies brands such as Techno, Innex, and itel Mobile as direct competitors, asserting that these brands collectively hold a significant portion of the market share, while claiming a promising 7.5% share for itself.

The campaign predominantly used Facebook, Instagram and TikTok. Special content featuring Khan was created specifically for TikTok. Additionally, 55 OOH signs were placed across 30 selected cities, with an additional focus on smaller towns, including Bahawalpur, Faisalabad, Gilgit and the Swat area. Activations featuring product demonstrations and shop branding were conducted in 35 cities.

Considering the diverse demographics encompassing urban and rural areas, Sparx opted to target both segments.

According to Qureshi, “a mobile phone isn’t just a device; it’s a reflection of one’s lifestyle and personal statement.”

Sparx distribution network spans 17 cities across Pakistan, supported by 26 customer-care centres and over 400 collection points. Recently, Sparx initiated exports to Africa and the Gulf (there are sizeable Pakistani populations there that demand high-end phones at affordable prices), and anticipates significant market potential in East and West Africa along with Central Asia.

Qureshi is upbeat regarding the future: “We are introducing high and low-end phones to cater to a wide range of potential customers. As the sole Pakistani smartphone brand offering a segmented product line, we pride ourselves on delivering quality products manufactured at our assembly facility.”